If you’re a fan of celebrity gossip about NBA stars and their personal lives, this weekend was for you. Personally, I tend to think none of this stuff matters and the mere breaching of conversation on the topics is entering into an uncomfortable level of judgment in matters we hardly have any facts on. Illegal acts? Sure. Those represent their city, their team, and can have real impacts on the image of the league and the availability of its players. But these stories really have nothing to do with sports. Alas, they are news to some, so they are here.
Our first contestant is Steve Nash, who announced that he and his wife would be divorcing a day after their third child was born. Nash and his ex-wife had been together for nine years, married for five, and also have twin daughters to go along with the newborn son. Apparently the divorce had been a longtime coming, and both plan to work together in the best interest of the kids, according to a publisher’s release. In a way, delaying the announcement of the longtime-coming divorce until the day after the birth of their son was a brilliant move. You get all the PR hubub out of the way over a weekend, all in one swoop, and instead of Nash being hit with criticism for divorcing his pregnant wife, he comes off in a much better light. Those that will criticize will criticize, but that’s kind of the way it goes.
Lamar Odom’s instance is substantially less congenial. Odom is suing his ex-girlfriend whom he has a 9 and 12 year old child with (via the New York Post). He and the defendant also suffered the loss of a 6-month-old son who died of sudden infant death syndrome. Odom’s announcement comes days after he and new bride Khloe Kardashian started making noise about naming their future kids. The mother is claiming Odom has continually ignored the kids, even after the death of the 6-month-old. She also doesn’t want the kids to appear in Odom and Kardashian’s new reality series.
We don’t know anything about any of these relationships, but that’s what’s up.
If you’re going to bet on an NBA player likely to be moved before the start of the NBA season — or at least by the deadline — Bucks’ big man Greg Monroe would be a good choice. It’s no secret he is on the trade block, the Bucks just aren’t finding a team making an offering to their liking.
What would Monroe like?
He probably wants to end up in New Orleans, ESPN’s Marc Stein said on the Lowe Post podcast.
Which makes a ton of sense — he was born in New Orleans, he wants to go home. The two sides have talked about a deal multiple times in the past, but nothing got done.
The problem is the Bucks are only getting rock-bottom offers for Monroe. On the upside, he’s an efficient offensive NBA big who got the Bucks 15.3 points and 8.8 rebounds a game last season. However, he’s a defensive liability who does not protect the rim, plus he’s a $17 million rental next season (he can and likely will opt out in the summer of 2017). Even teams that could use a scoring big are not going to give up much quality in a trade for a rental like Monroe.
The Pelicans already have Omer Asik and Alexis Ajinca as traditional fives, and they should play Anthony Davis there more anyway. Roster wise, the Pelicans would need to make some other moves for this deal to make sense.
But eventually, the Bucks will find an offer they are willing to take.
Venezuela is in its first Olympic basketball tournament in more than 20 years — they upset Canada and Argentina to win the FIBA Americas tournament last summer and earned the right to go to Rio.
But they are going to have to play there without the one NBA player on their roster. Greivis Vasquez, who had ankle surgery last December, announced he had to pull out, via the Nets.
If you want to know what this means for the Venezuelan team heading into Rio, well, they shot just 23.9 percent in an 80-45 loss to Team USA Friday night in Chicago — and that was by far the USA’s worst performance in the exhibition run-up to the Rio Games.
Vasquez should be getting decent minutes off the bench behind Jeremy Lin in Brooklyn this season. They need him healthy as the team tries to move from “god awful” to just plain “not good” next season.
Another smart move by the Spurs.
Monty Williams is one of the better assistant coaches in the NBA right now, and he was available (remember he understandably left Oklahoma City last season after the tragic death of his wife). He’s part of Mike Krzyzewski’s staff with USA Basketball this summer — watch him in practices at age 44 and he’s a better defender plenty of players in the league — and he wanted to get back on the bench.
San Antonio has snapped him up, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.
Sources told ESPN that Williams — who left the Oklahoma City Thunder’s bench in February after the tragic death of his wife, Ingrid — has been urged by Spurs coach Gregg Popovich to take as much of a role with the organization as he feels comfortable for the 2016-17 campaign.
The specifics of what role Williams would fill and how much time he could commit have not yet been determined, but sources say San Antonio has opened the door to either a coaching and player-development role or a front-office position (or a hybrid), depending on what he prefers.
One source close to Williams told ESPN that the 44-year-old “absolutely” intends to be a head coach in the league again after his expected stint with the Spurs. The source also said numerous teams, including Oklahoma City, have made similar offers to Williams for next season.
Williams will get another shot in the big chair down the line. In the short term, this is a smart move — nothing looks better on a resume than “Spurs” around the league right now.
Team USA had their “Tiny Dancer” moment.
Like “Stillwater” in Almost Famous, Team USA’s Jimmy Butler, Draymond Green and Kyrie Irving were leading a sing-along of Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles” on the team plane out of Chicago to Houston for the USA’s final exhibition game. Hat tip Alysha Tsuji who pulled the snapchats.
Everyone was loving it… except for Carmelo Anthony, according to DeMar DeRozan.